Vitamin E in Preventing the Side Effects of Isotretinoin in Former and Current Smokers Who Are Receiving Isotretinoin to Prevent Lung Cancer


RATIONALE: Chemoprevention therapy is the use of certain drugs to try to prevent the development or recurrence of cancer. The use of isotretinoin may be an effective way to prevent lung cancer. Vitamin E may prevent the side effects of isotretinoin therapy.

PURPOSE: Randomized clinical trial to study the effectiveness of vitamin E in preventing the side effects of isotretinoin in former and current smokers who are receiving isotretinoin to prevent lung cancer.

Full Title of Study: “A Randomized Study of the Effect of Alpha-tocopherol (AT) on 13-cis-retinoic Acid (13-cRA) Toxicity in a Preliminary Chemoprevention Trial in Former and Current Smokers”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Prevention
    • Masking: None (Open Label)

Detailed Description

OBJECTIVES: I. Determine whether the addition of alpha-tocopherol (AT; vitamin E) to isotretinoin decreases the incidence of Grade II and higher toxicity of isotretinoin when administered to former and current smokers. II. Determine the compliance rate of isotretinoin of smoker and former smokers with or without AT over a six month period. III. Determine the feasibility of recruiting former and current smokers with or without AT over a six month period. IV. Determine the effect of isotretinoin administration on serum retinol and retinol-binding protein levels in these patients.

OUTLINE: This is randomized, placebo controlled study. Patients are stratified by smoking status (current smoker vs former smoker) and age (less than 50 vs 50 and over). Patients are randomized to be take alpha-tocopherol (AT) orally and isotretinoin orally daily (arm I) or isotretinoin orally plus AT placebo orally daily (arm II). Treatment in each arm continues for 6 months. Patients are followed at 1, 3, 6, and 7 months from start of treatment.

PROJECTED ACCRUAL: There will be 300 patients (150 per arm) accrued into this study over an estimated 9 months.


  • Dietary Supplement: Vitamin E (AT)
    • Orally daily
  • Drug: Isotretinoin
    • Orally daily

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Arm I
    • Alpha-tocopherol (AT) orally and isotretinoin orally daily (arm I)
  • Experimental: Arm II
    • Isotretinoin orally plus AT placebo orally daily (arm II).

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Effect of Alpha-tocopherol (AT) on 13-cis-retinoic Acid (13-cRA) Toxicity
    • Time Frame: 6 Months

Participating in This Clinical Trial

DISEASE CHARACTERISTICS: Current smokers with 20+ packs per year history of smoking OR Former smokers who discontinued smoking 1 year prior to registration (less than 5 cigarettes in the prior year) and had a 20+ packs per year history prior to discontinuing smoking

PATIENT CHARACTERISTICS: Age: 18 and over Performance status: Not specified Life expectancy: Not specified Hematopoietic: WBC greater than 3,000/mm3 Platelet count greater than 100,000/mm3 Hepatic: Bilirubin less than 1.5 mg/dL SGOT less than 40 IU/mL OR SGPT less than IU/mL Renal: Not specified Other: Fasting triglycerides less than 320 mg/dL No prior malignancy in the past 5 years except nonmelanoma skin cancer or noninvasive cervical cancer No history of malabsorption syndrome Not pregnant Effective contraception required of all fertile persons

PRIOR CONCURRENT THERAPY: Biologic therapy: Not specified Chemotherapy: No prior isotretinoin Endocrine therapy: Not specified Radiotherapy: Not specified Surgery: Not specified Other: No prior warfarin or its derivatives At least 3 months since megadose vitamin A (greater than 25,000 IU/day) or beta-carotene greater than 30 mg/day or alpha-tocopherol at least 400 IU daily No concurrent megadose vitamin A (greater than 25,000 IU/day), beta-carotene greater than 30 mg/day, alpha-tocopherol at least 400 IU daily, or other daily supplements and tonics

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Collaborator
    • National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Rodger J. Winn, MD, Study Chair, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

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